The Sam Altman-OpenAI-Microsoft saga is turning out to be one of the most dramatic ones to come out of the tech world. Just when it seemed that the entire situation was over with Altman and Greg Brockman joining Microsoft, Satya Nadella threw yet another curve ball. Appearing in interviews with CNBC and Bloomberg TV a few hours earlier, the Microsoft CEO hinted at the possibility that Altman may return to OpenAI, the home he was ousted from. The statements by Nadella only add fuel to the fire earlier started with Ilya Sutskever’s post on X showing regret for the incident and the open letter by OpenAI staff threatening to mass resign if Altman was not reinstated.
During an interview with CNBC, Nadella said, “Obviously, we want Sam and Greg to have a fantastic home if they’re not going to be in OpenAI”. When asked whether Altman and 700 OpenAI employees would join him at Microsoft, he added, “That’s for, you know, [the] OpenAI board and management and the employees to choose … [Microsoft] chose to explicitly partner with OpenAI [and] obviously that depends on the people at OpenAI staying there or coming to Microsoft, so I’m open to both options”.
Nadella also went over the topic of whether Microsoft is considering taking a seat on the OpenAI board. In the CNBC interview, he said, “It’s clear something has to change around the governance. We will have a good dialogue with their board on that, and walk through that as that evolves”. Along the same lines, he said, as per The Verge report, in the Bloomberg TV interview that Microsoft will “definitely want some governance changes. This idea that changes happen without being in the loop is not good.”
Sam Altman saga continues
Nadella’s uncertainty on whether Altman will join the team or not is something many can relate to after a series of posts made by the former OpenAI CEO that makes it seem like he’s still representing the company he was ousted from.
He posted on X, “we have more unity and commitment and focus than ever before. we are all going to work together some way or other, and i’m so excited. one team, one mission”.
The post makes it appear that Altman is referring to the staffers at OpenAI and is highlighting that they will work together, however, it is not clear whether that will happen at OpenAI or Microsoft.
A post made a couple of hours later only intensified the confusion. “satya and my top priority remains to ensure openai continues to thrive. we are committed to fully providing continuity of operations to our partners and customers. the openai/microsoft partnership makes this very doable”. This appears as if it was said as still the representative of OpenAI.
With Sutskever posting earlier expressing deep regret in the board’s action and Altman reposting with a heart emoji, a final twist in the tale is not out of the question.